Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Thunder Burger & Bar Brunch Review

Sausage side

It takes a brave soul to order brunch before heading over to the Safeway Barbecue Battle; but downright easy when said brunch is served by the fine folks at Thunder Burger & Bar. Already home to our favorite burger, Thunder Burger could afford to "slide by" with a half-hearted weekend effort; but executive chef Ryan Fichter would have none of that... matching delicious bite for delicious bite, en route to a sausage-rific great meal.

Before you lookup "sausage-rific" in your dictionary (hint, hint, it's not there) allow me a chance to explain the importance of delicious pork sausage, especially in a $3 side dish. If you can transform an entire meal for the cost of a dollar per link, you must be doing something right. Thunder's sausage links are so good, I skipped over first impressions, a free starter and an amazing Steak & Eggs entree to get to them. Let's do a proper review, and start from the beginning.

Steak & Eggs with Brunch Potatoes

Thunder grabs your attention before you even step inside its' two-century-old interior. Its brick facade and bold, logo-emblazoned windows steal your eye... ultimately wooing you over with the promise of burgers & other tasty treats. Inside, the layout closely resembles sister spot (and tapa haven) Bodega Spanish Tapas and Lounge, which I consider one of the coolest spots in town. Get this: Thunder might be cooler.

Black leather seats, dark wood tables and bold booth backs with red & brown stripe upholstery ooze style, working in wondrous harmony with Thunder's massive metal logo, working fire place and wicked-cool chandeliers/light fixtures. If the Rolling Stones had a favorite hangout in DC, this would be it. I especially enjoyed the Motown soundtrack (Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Stevie Wonder's Superstition) in the background, played at a delightful decibel.

Seasonal Fruits

Looks are one thing, but food is everything; so how does the menu stand up? It starts with a cranberry juice and requisite lime (it's all in the details) and ramps up a notch with Thunder's free Fried Pita Chips starter. Nice and salty, the soft pita chips literally melt in your mouth; while a generous dusting of powdered sugar satisfies your sweet tooth (without being overly sweet.) It's a great way to keep busy while waiting for your mains.

Speaking of, I ordered Steak & Eggs ($16, served with Brunch Potatoes or seasonal fruits for $2 more) with a side of bacon ($4) and the aforementioned sausage. Teloria, my friendly server with short, spunky, blue-green hair couldn't have been nicer or more efficient; and manager Paul stopped by twice to make sure everything was up to scratch. So far, so perfect... with the exception of my iPhone, which was sadly set to the wrong filter (apologies for the dark hue to the food photos.)

Bacon side

Food arrived inside of 10 minutes, and looked terrific. My 6" NY strip steak was cooked perfectly (MEDIUM, as asked for) and tasted even better (flavorful, juicy.) Eggs were fluffy & scrambled, but close to cold (the meal's only slight) yet the potatoes were tender & well-seasoned. I also received a bonus bowl of seasonal fruit (colorful, fresh.)

Hmm... What about the sausage? I've waited five paragraphs to yell its praises. I have no idea what they put in those casings, but it starts with F, ends in R, and has LAVO in between. Impossibly priced at just $3 for three plump links, you're tempting fate by not ordering them. They're on par with nearby Juniper for best sausage in town. And by the way, let's not overlook Thunder's side of bacon... four Heavenly strips with just the right amount of fat. Yum!

Crêpe Classic

Don't ask how; but I found a tiny corner of room inside... enough to squeeze in a Crêpe Classic (with one crêpe, instead of three.) I've had Thunder's crêpes before, and they're nothing short of amazing. This order (served with seasonal fruit and a dollop of fresh Mascarpone cream) was particularly good... crispy edges, delicate and delicious. They're available in a number of varieties (Coco-Banana, Grand Mariner, Nutella) but I opted for Classic (Honey Butter Sauce.) Needless to say, any normal person would likely be satisfied by crêpes alone; but most readers know I'm nowhere near normal.

Fried Pita Chips with Powdered Sugar

Everyone should try a Thunder Burger at least once in their lives (they're available for Brunch too) but Thunder proves they're no one-trick-pony with one of the more impressive brunches in DC. I've never been a big fan of Georgetown (crowds, traffic, etc.) but Thunder Burger & Bar provides the ultimate respite from the area's hustle & bustle... not to mention DC's best burger and my latest discovery... the "sausage-rific" brunch. Bon appétit!